Women at work – quotas, booth babes and clones

Two of Germany's political parties have reached a policy compromise supporting the ‘Frauenquote' - a move to regulate the representation of women on the boards of large companies.The policy would require companies listed on the German stock exchange to have at least 30% women on their boards.  It would also require large firms to publish their plans to ensure more women land top executive roles.Similar quota policies already exist in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain.In a blog post on Harvard Business Review, Joan Williams, author of What works for women at work, looks at a recent Gallup poll about people's attitudes to female bosses.  On the surface, things are looking up.  Of course you would expect more people today to prefer a woman boss - or to have no gender preference - than did 60 years ago.   However, she then highlights a number of research projects which examine the ongoing negative gender dynamics in the workplace.No matter what your view of the existence - and the need for - quotas, when you read the disheartening comments made in response to a blog post about the use of ‘booth babes' at an IT exhibition you can't help but feel that there is still much progress to be made.Meanwhile a report on the makeup of Swedish boards (by the Albright Foundation) found a distinct lack of diversity.  Most were full of people similar to each other in gender, skills experience or contact networks.  An Albright report from earlier this year shows that there were more board members called Johan in Sweden than there were women board members!Additional source: The Guardian.  Thanks to @pennyrleach for the booth babe story.[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]